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Ice box takes penguin to Wellington Zoo

Friday 24 Jun 2011 12:24 p.m.

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The emperor penguin on the Kapiti Coast is being moved to Wellington Zoo for a full health check.

DOC officials and Massey University staff have been at Peka Peka Beach this morning examining the penguin, after reports it was looking unwell.

They have since confirmed it is showing signs of deterioration, although it is unclear why.

The penguin has been transported to Wellington Zoo and is sedated while staff carry out an exploratory procedure.

Staff are going to take blood samples and restore the bird's fluids via a drip, and will also take x-rays to find out what the penguin has been eating.

A cordon had been set up around the bid, who arrived on the Kapiti Coast on Monday, after locals noticed it had begun moving slower and alerted DOC. This morning, the penguin was lying on its stomach with its head on the sand. Officials later moved it to the shade amid fears the heat would adversely affect it.

It is thought the penguin may have picked up an infection from eating sticks.

Suggestions to return to the penguin to Antarctica were initially ruled out as any bacteria or diseases it could have picked up on its journey to New Zealand could cause harm to colonies back home.

DOC would not say if they have had a change of heart at this stage, or what other solutions there would be to help the penguin.

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